Ansible Pilot

Ansible troubleshooting - Error: name[template]

How to Solve the Ansible Error name[template]

November 6, 2023
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In the world of IT automation and configuration management, Ansible stands as a powerful tool. Ansible playbooks allow you to define a series of tasks, and these playbooks are designed to be human-readable. They are not just a set of instructions but also serve as documentation for the tasks they perform. One crucial aspect of creating effective and maintainable playbooks is naming conventions. A well-structured playbook with appropriately named tasks is not only easier to understand but also aids in troubleshooting.

However, when it comes to naming tasks within Ansible playbooks, you might encounter a specific error called “name[template].” In this article, we will delve into the details of this error, what it means, why it’s important, and how to address it.

Understanding the “name[template]” Error

In Ansible playbooks, each task should have a name associated with it. This name serves as a label for the task, allowing you to understand its purpose and function. The “name[template]” error specifically deals with how you structure the name of your tasks, especially when it involves Jinja templates.

Jinja templates are dynamic placeholders that can be used within task names to provide more context or information. However, there are specific guidelines and best practices for using Jinja templates in task names. The “name[template]” error is triggered when these guidelines are not followed.

Best Practices for Using Jinja Templates in Task Names

To avoid the “name[template]” error and ensure that your Ansible playbooks remain clear and well-structured, consider the following best practices:

  1. Place Jinja Templates at the End: When using Jinja templates within task names, it’s advisable to place them at the end. This ensures that the static part of the task name is recognizable, even if the template doesn’t render correctly.

  2. Use Templates Sparingly: While Jinja templates can be powerful for adding dynamic content to task names, it’s crucial not to overuse them. Use templates only when necessary to maintain readability.

  3. Test Templates: Before deploying your playbook, test the Jinja templates used in task names to ensure they render as expected. This helps prevent unexpected errors during playbook execution.

Resolving the “name[template]” Error

If you encounter the “name[template]” error in your Ansible playbook, consider the following steps to resolve it:

  1. Review Task Names: Go through your playbook and inspect task names that involve Jinja templates. Ensure that the templates are placed at the end of the name, as per best practices.

  2. Test Templates: Test the Jinja templates to see if they render as expected. If you find any issues, adjust the templates to ensure they generate the desired output.

  3. Update Task Names: Make necessary adjustments to task names to comply with the recommended structure. This might involve moving the Jinja templates to the end of the name or simplifying complex templates.

  4. Re-run the Playbook: Once you’ve made the required changes, re-run your playbook to confirm that the “name[template]” error no longer occurs.

Problematic Code

Let’s look at an example to understand the impact of not naming plays:

- name: Example playbook
  hosts: all
    id: name
    - name: Create {{ id }} directory
        path: "/tmp/{{ id }}"
        state: directory

Here, the task name is using a Jinja template in the middle making it challenging to discern its purpose. Without a clear task name, troubleshooting or reviewing the playbook becomes needlessly complicated.

Ansible Lint Output

WARNING  Listing 2 violation(s) that are fatal
name[template]: Jinja templates should only be at the end of 'name'
name-template.yml:7 Task/Handler: Create {{ id }} directory

risky-file-permissions: File permissions unset or incorrect.
name-template.yml:7 Task/Handler: Create {{ id }} directory

Read documentation for instructions on how to ignore specific rule violations.

                   Rule Violation Summary                   
 count tag                    profile  rule associated tags 
     1 name[template]         moderate idiom                
     1 risky-file-permissions safety   unpredictability     

Failed: 2 failure(s), 0 warning(s) on 1 files. Last profile that met the validation criteria was 'basic'. Rating: 1/5 star

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Correct Code

- name: Example playbook
  hosts: all
    id: name
    - name: Create directory {{ id }}
        path: "/tmp/{{ id }}"
        state: directory

In the corrected code, we’ve moved the {{ id }} Jinja template to the end of the task name. It now offers a clear context, making it easy to understand its purpose.


In the realm of Ansible playbooks, proper task naming is a fundamental aspect of creating organized and maintainable automation scripts. The “name[template]” error serves as a reminder to follow best practices when using Jinja templates within task names. By adhering to these practices, you can enhance the readability and effectiveness of your playbooks while ensuring smooth execution without errors.

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